When the St. Louis Rams drafted wide receiver Tavon Austin in the 1st round in the 2013 draft, it felt that they found a true speed threat that not only improved their mediocre wide receiving corp, but also added a dynamic rushing threat. But, in his second year, Austin is still struggling to find his own within the Rams offense. During the Offseason, Austin told the media that the Rams offense was “Like Spanish to him”, but that he understood it coming into his sophomore season. Well, it seems as if it is still foreign to the West Virginia product. On the other hand, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has failed to really implement a type of offense that fits Austin’s ability.
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In his rookie year, Austin had only 40 receptions, and 9 carries, but he averaged 13.5 yards every time he touched the ball. He had an electrifying 99-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Colts; a game in which he also totaled 138 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Austin showed off his ability plenty of times his rookie campaign, but it was also a very inconsistent season. He would have games like the one against the Colts, but then he’d also have a stretch of games where he would touch the ball less than 5 times;Austin had 2 games in which he touched the ball 0 times. That type of play has also seemed to seep over into his second year.
Through the 8 games that the Rams have played this season, Austin has only 17 receptions and 18 carries. His average is also down in both categories and he has failed to reach the end zone at all. Now granted, he hasn’t had a very capable quarterback with the absence of Sam Bradford, but he is still looked at to be a key role player for the team. It seems that it is more of the same for Austin and the Rams this season. Rams continue to lose, and Austin’s playing time and statistics are also falling. If the Rams want Austin to be the type of player they wanted him to be when they drafted him, then they better find a way to get him into the game; in a way in which he can produce, because as it stands now, the trend is going to continue if something doesn’t change.
-Ben Carter is a staff writer at NFLSpinzone, follow him on twitter: @ASAP_Athlete